Tomorrow, being the 1st December, marks the beginning of the festive season, and with it the temptation of chocolate, sugar and alcohol everywhere you look. It is no wonder that many of us fall off the bandwagon of fitness and healthy eating during this time.
Last year, I managed to keep my weight steady over the Christmas season and even still lose a little. The aim this year is to keep losing 1lb a week or more. I lost a lb over the last week. If I can keep it up, my aim of 2st loss in total will be achieved by some time in May next year – the perfect time to buy a new summer wardrobe.
I know it is doable. I have been here before a few years ago and have the pictures to prove it.
Behold 8st 1 me:
Okay, so what is the secret? Honestly? There is none. It’s the same principle of moving more and eating less – or, as Anna on Secret Eaters once pointed out – ‘Thinking like a thin person’.
1. Go easy on the chocolate
Ideally, just have one piece a day. I have been a very lucky wifey this year as my husband decided to buy me a Lego advent calendar instead of a chocolate one. I may even have squealed (at the thought of more Lego, I may point out – NOT the loss of chocolate). Let’s face it, most chocolate thrown about at this time of the year is pretty rubbish – too sweet, wrong texture, too many fancy fillings and quite often tasting just that little bit stale. Or maybe I just have an expensive taste; I’m a Lindt girl through and through, which works in my favour as I will think twice about buying the chocolate in the first place, what with one tiny bunny-renamed-reindeer-over-Christmas setting me back a minimum of 50p. In my post on weight loss over Christmas last year, I also mentioned liquidising your chocolate. You get so much more chocolatey goodness without the added guilt from a single cup of real cocoa than you do from bar chocolate that the latter often doesn’t seem worth it.
2. Yes, low-calorie, festive options do exist
I think this one may be the biggest (perceived) hurdle at this time of year. I don’t know about you, but the first things that spring to mind when asked about Christmas food are biscuits, Lebkuchen, Stollen, duck roast and chocolate. The German in me may be showing a little. But then I think a little further and, actually, many traditional winter foods were not originally the massive food orgies we have made them into over the years. There are spiced red cabbage, apple stuffing, chicken soup, mincemeat-filled, baked apples, sprouts and a load of other options, which will still keep with the spirit of a great Christmas season without the added calories. Just as a reminder, winter veg are pretty much all cabbages, carrots and parsnips, typical winter fruit (from my childhood, at least) are oranges, plums and apples harvested earlier in the year and either ripened slowly or conserved for winter. Hardly sounds unhealthy, does it?
3. Remember the hangover
Both in your head and on your hips when you indulge in that extra mug of mulled wine or glass of sherry. Drinks at this time of the year can be quite alcoholic and no matter how spirited the festivities (geddit?) it is still possible to go easy and stay healthy. So choose spritzers over full-on drinks (remember 1g of alcohol has almost the same amount of calories as 1g of fat, while sugar has fewer calories) and remember the importance of water. If you drink for the heat, choose a hot chocolate or – even better – a winter spiced tea – there are plenty about to suit any taste. My favourite is a camomile, apple and cinnamon mix over winter.
4. Keep exercising
I fully get it. It’s dark. It’s murky. It’s cold. The last thing you want to do is to throw off the blanket, get off the sofa and go for a run on a slippery back road. I’m not advertising trying to break your legs. I make no secret out of the fact that I hate forced exercising and the only reason I’ve been pedalling on my stationary bike for the last week or so is because I’m a stubborn so-and-so. But there are ways of exercising that don’t need that force. Unless you live in Lichfield, most ice rinks around the country are getting busy now. Ice skating is fun. I was gutted over the last 2 years that I couldn’t partake as I was pregnant the first year and with a newborn the next, but I am determined to go again this winter. And if you don’t have an ice rink, how about a snowball fight? Or if you live in British cities, where sleet is the most you can expect, just a winter walk to see the festive lights outside is enough to keep moving. Wherever you are, there is something you can do, other than sit inside and watch TV. And if you do feel the urge to stay in bed, invite your partner to join you. You’re welcome 😉